You've made up your mind; you're ready to start, excellent! There are a number of ways to exercise the body and each has specific benefits. Aerobic activities enhance the aerobic and cardiovascular systems while resistance training strengthens the musculoskeletal system. Either activity will deliver benefits in both areas (aerobic and strength).
Remember, movement is key. Move your body, walk, run, swim, bike, play basketball, dance or just do chores around the house.
Let's look at a very simple and effective form of exercise to begin our fitness journey, walking. It's fairly inexpensive, only requiring comfortable, flexible walking shoes, loose fitting clothes and a water bottle. Music is optional.
Did you know that walking at a turtle's pace for an hour 5 times per week will allow you to drop about 15 pounds of fat in a year and a brisk pace will burn even more. And that's without altering your eating habits. Include calorie reduction in your fitness plan and you can expect to lose even more!
Ok enough mumbo jumbo let's get started.
Choose a safe place to walk.
Begin walking at a normal pace for at least 5 minutes.
After your body warms, up stop and do some simple stretching, i.e.
gentle torso twist, arm and ankle circles and calf stretches. After your walk, you can do more extensive stretches.
Continue your walking, picking up the pace to a brisk walk. Stay in your target heart rate range.
This is determined by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying that number by (.65 = light intensity .75 = moderate intensity .85 = brisk intensity). Here's the formula for a 27 year old walking a moderate pace:
193 x .75(moderate)=144(target heart)
Take your pulse for 6 seconds, multiply that number by 10; this is your target heart rate. If it's over 144 slow down, if it's below, pick up the pace.
The first week walk for approximately 20 minutes 3 to 5 times at a comfortable but challenging pace.
Increase your time by 3 to 5 minutes per week until you reach 30 to 60 minutes per walk. At the end of each walk, stretch your hamstrings (back of legs), quads (front of legs) and lower back.
Your goal: walk 5x per week.
Once you've mastered walking, you may want to try something more challenging like jogging or biking.